Traumatic Pasts

Traumatic Pasts : History, Psychiatry, and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930

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Traumatic Pasts, originally published in 2001, offers a variety of perspectives on mental trauma in war, medicine, culture and society in modern European and American history. Its primary goals are: to provide a generous sampling of the best of the historical scholarship about trauma; to indicate the empirical, analytical and methodological scope of this work; and to present some of the conceptual and methodological issues inherent in writing about the subject. The book operates on the premise that the historical humanities have something crucially important to say about trauma; its essays may be read, in part, as attempts to introduce a deep historical dimension into ongoing debates and controversies. However, it is important to stress that these essays are not simply addressed the concerns; rather, they reflect a shared conviction that trauma opens up fresh perspectives in the study of social and cultural history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19mm | 500g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 0521142083
  • 9780521142083
  • 1,268,495

Table of contents

Contributors; Preface; 1. Trauma, psychiatry, and history: a conceptual and historiographical introduction Paul Lerner and Mark S. Micale; Part I. Travel and Trauma in the Victorian Era: 2. The railway accident: trains, trauma, and technological crisis in nineteenth-century Britain Ralph Harrington; 3. Trains and trauma in the American gilded age Eric Caplan; Part II. Work, Accidents, and Trauma in the Early Welfare State: 4. Events, series, trauma: the probabilistic revolution of the mind in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Wolfgang Schaffner; 5. The German welfare state as a discourse of trauma Greg A. Eghigian; Part III. Theorizing Trauma: Psychiatry and Modernity at the Turn of the Century: 6. Jean-Martin Charcot and les nevroses traumatiques: from medicine to culture in French trauma theory of the late nineteenth century Mark S. Micale; 7. From traumatic neurosis to male hysteria: the decline and fall of Hermann Oppenheim, 1889-1919 Paul Lerner; 8. The construction of female sexual trauma in turn-of-the-century American mental medicine Lisa Cardyn; Part IV. Shock, Trauma, and Psychiatry in the First World War: 9. 'Why are they not cured?' British shellshock treatment during the Great War Peter Leese; 10. Psychiatrists, soldiers, and officers in Italy during the Great War Bruna Bianchi; 11. A Battle of Nerves: hysteria and its treatments in France during World War I Marc Roudebush; 13. Invisible wounds: the American legion, shell-shocked veterans, and American society, 1919-1924 Caroline Cox; Index.
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Review quote

Review of the hardback: 'The introductory essay should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the history of trauma within psychiatry. The book represents a successful fusion of cultural history and the history of ideas, and promises to intrigue historians and other readers for many years to come.' Joanna Bourke, History Today Review of the hardback: 'Each of the essays in this collection is a gem.' British Medical Journal Review of the hardback: '... makes for a fascinating read ... there is a depth of analysis that is refreshing ... the introductory essay should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the history of trauma within psychiatry. the book represents a successful fusion of cultural history and the history of ideas, and promises to intrigue historians and other readers for many years to come.' History Today Review of the hardback: '... it succeeds in providing a considerably more nuanced examination of the history of trauma, with an important comparative dimension.' The Times Literary Supplement Review of the hardback: ' ... with the publication of Traumatic Pasts the historical study of trauma can be said to have achieved intellectual maturity. ... detailed and thoughful essays add new dimensions to our understanding of trauma, past and present, and provide important guidelines for future research.' History Workshop Journal Review of the hardback: 'In its balanced tone, careful documentation, and attentiveness to gender, class and culture, this ... is a model for scholars of trauma in many disciplines.' German History Review of the hardback: '... an exemplary introduction, in which the intellectual lineage of post-traumatic stress disorder is fully set out.' Social History of Medicine Review of the hardback: ' ... this is a welcome and valuable book which adds significantly to our knowledge.' Medical History Review of the hardback: '... this book represents a good example of the potential of comparative studies to cast fresh light on what may seem a familiar subject. Especially striking are the insights it reveals into the contrasting French and American responses to traumatized soldiers during the First world War.' Annals of Science Review of the hardback: 'The book's primary goals are to provide a generous sample of the best new historical scholarship on trauma; to indicate the empirical, analytical, and methodological scope of this work; and to present some of the conceptual and methodological issues inherent in writing about the subject ... All these goals are achieved in a readable style which ... will appeal to a general readership beyond trauma experts.' German Historical Institute Bulletin "Mark Micale and Paul Lerner have edited a very valuable collection of essays. The scholarship presented here successfully challenges the notion of a single, uniform, transhistorical and trans-cultural concept of psychological trauma, and repeatedly demonstrates the relevance of time, place and culture to our understanding of its manifestations. Familiar histories that conflate the discovery of the unconscious and of the significance of trauma with the advent of Freud and psychoanalysis are shown to be misleading and incomplete. And our current crop of psychosocial traumas is firmly placed in a larger historical frame." The Times Literary Supplement "Mark Micale and Paul Lerner, both historians of psychiatry, have assembled a welcome collection of essays. They offer an antidote to our over-romantic and ahistorical view of what is the key period in the history of trauma--the birth of the modern--from the end of the 19th century to the aftermath of the Great War. . . . Each of the essays in this collection is a gem." British Medical Journal "This powerful book offers the best in the historical scholarship about trauma. It is very thoroughly researched and the number of multilingual sources used for every essay demonstrates an admirable knowledge of literature in the field. Recommended for academic libraries, especially those with programs in psychology, health sciences and history." E-Stream "It is by and large a good book that should be valued for bringing together much scholarship on its chosen subject." Canadian Literature "With the publication of Traumatic Pasts, it can be unequivocally stated that the historical study of trauma has entered a state of maturity. The authors locate the origins of the modern concept of trauma in a variety of medical discourses between 1870 and 1930 dealing with railway accidents, industrial accidents, violence and abuse, social insurance, and modern warfare. All chapters are of a high caliber and advance recent scholarship in their respective areas. . . . The authors of Traumatic Pasts have demonstrated that it is not possible to gain an understanding of the complexities of the trauma concept when social, political, and historical factors are not taken into account. The detailed, well-researched, and exceedingly well-theorized essays add a tremendous amount of material to existing historical research as well as to current debates about the nature of trauma." History Workshop "At last scholars interested in the subject of trauma have a collection of interdisciplinary essays representing both the most thorough research and the most incisive thinking in the field. This indispensable book will move the discussion of trauma beyond fashionable metaphor to historical documentation." Elaine Showalter, Princeton University "Traumatic Pasts is a major leap in the study of trauma as a historical concept. Reaching from the train accidents of the 19th century through shell shock and World War I, this volume of new and fascinating essays provides the context for our modern understanding of trauma. Much has been written about trauma over the past decades as if it were a contemporary phenomenon without its own history. That history is now elegantly supplied by Mark Micale and Paul Lerner." Sander L. Gilman, The American Academy in Berlin "At last a survey of the history of trauma which is genuinely international, and which gives peace-time experiences their due significance alongside the horrors of war. Traumatic Pasts does not merely deliver an abundance of exciting new research; it brings a much-needed balance to a hysterized subject." Roy Porter, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at University College "In place of the mythic, familiar, and taken-for-granted, we find a book that is filled with provocative discoveries, and that will open the way for many of us to new perspectives." Allan Young, McGill University "In line with the general orientation of this important volume, I think (it) will teach us a lot about the twentieth century and ourselves." Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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